Graphite in £300m education exit

The divestment of Education Personnel has netted Graphite a return of nearly 6x.

UK-based Graphite Capital has sold Education Personnel, a provider of supply teachers and education support staff to schools in England and Wales, to Intermediate Capital Group (ICG) and the company’s management.

Graphite sold the business for £300 million netting a return of close to 6x, according to a source familiar with the matter. Graphite declined to comment on financials.

Graphite originally backed the management buy-out of Teaching Personnel in 2010. The following year the business was merged with Protocol Education to form Education Personnel generating approximately 100 additional jobs at the company since the merger, according to a Graphite statement.

Education Personnel’s revenue has grown by approximately 60 percent over the past four years. The number of branches has risen from 52 to 67 and the number of candidates placed has increased to over 16,000 per annum in more than 7,200 schools.

In the face of increasingly stringent regulations and vetting requirements, and with reduced support from local education authorities, more schools are turning to external providers, according to the firm. Growth prospects are also underpinned by the government’s drive to improve education standards, as well as rising pupil numbers, Graphite said.

The divestment is the fourth exit from Graphite Capital Partners VII, a £475 million 2007-vintage. There are seven portfolio companies left in this vehicle following this transaction.

In the last 18 months, Graphite has sold Alexander Mann Solutions, a global recruitment process outsourcing company, for £260 million, and NES Global Talent, the international technical recruitment group, for £234 million. Its remaining investments in these sectors include TMP Worldwide, a recruitment marketing agency, and Explore Learning, a specialist provider of after-school tuition.

The firm is currently investing its Graphite Capital Partners VIII, which closed on £475 million last September after just seven months in market.